Thursday, August 06, 2009

City Council to Consider New Police Station Plan

At their August 10th meeting, the City Council will consider a plan to build a police station adjacent to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and 911 Call Center.

The Duluth Police Department currently operates in a space in the historic City Hall working in unsafe, cramped conditions. The 80 year old building inhibits the Department’s ability to meet national standards for handling, storage, and care of criminal evidence.

The City Council will consider a plan that would build a modern, efficient headquarters that will ensure our law enforcement officers can provide the best possible service to the community.

The new facility would improve technology compatibility with state databases; improve work processes; increase energy efficiency; provide better standards for combining property and evidence storage, crime scene processing, and forfeited vehicle storage; and provide a more efficient and safe work space for employees.

“The Duluth Police Department strives to provide the highest quality services. We can’t do that when we have to worry about sewage backups in the officer locker room or water damage to our property and evidence room,” says Chief Gordon Ramsay.

The plan developed by the Police Department achieves a modern police facility at one-half the cost of a facility being built in St. Cloud. The St. Cloud facility price tag will be $36 million, in contrast to the proposed $18 million facility in Duluth.

The financing is structured to limit the annual increases to the City’s portion of the property tax. Considering that the City of Duluth accounts for only 22% of the property tax bill, the 2010 levy increase would amount to a 0.6% increase of the total bill. For the homeowner with a $160,000 home, the average monthly impact on their 2010 property taxes would be less than one dollar. With the three step financing plan, the overall impact to property taxes would be 1.9% total increase spread over the next three years.

With Council approval, construction could begin as early as this fall, with a targeted completion date of summer 2011.